Impacts as a definer of value
I've written before about the importance of professionals being able to articulate the value they deliver for their clients, and the differences between inputs and outputs. But a different, and better focus of value is Impact. What impact do you have on your clients? - their lives, their businesses, their future?
In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Arthur C Brooks, the president of the think-tank American Enterprise Institute, discusses the challenge of defining value creation for non-profits, concluding that its value was not in the organisation's outputs (papers, research, articles), but how much the outputs were wanted by the business and political leaders who are its "clients" - in other words, the impact made by its outputs. The challenge was really demonstrating the impact made and the article goes on to describe how AEI measures its this.
In justifying their price, many professionals focus on inputs - the complexity/extent of the work they have to do. Others talk about their outputs - the contract, the judgment in the case, the sale, the tax refund. But I rarely hear talk of the impacts.
Yet for most clients, the impacts are a large part of how they assess the value of the interaction with the professional. The impact of the experience with the professional, the impact of the outcome of the engagement.
Clients I have worked with talk in terms of:
- helping me get on with my life
- getting answers
- making the experience easy
- giving me realistic and pragmatic advice
- making me see sense
- letting me get back to the business
- facilitating a relationship
- ensuring my kids have a good relationship with both parents
Redesigning the client experience to ensure positive impact increases value for the client. Finding ways to involve and empower the client, and minimising the pain of any touch points are ways of creating that positive.
And most importantly, in your value conversation with your client, focus on the positive impact you are aiming to achieve through the outcome of the engagement. Then you really demonstrate that you can deliver value.